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Romance Scam Research Center

2009: US: What's Love Got to Do with It? Exploring Online Dating Scams and Identity Fraud

Rege, Aunshul.  International Journal of Cyber Criminology; Thirunelveli Vol. 3, Iss. 2, (Jul-Dec 2009): 494-512.

Abstract: "Cyberspace has become an alternative medium for experiencing new and creative romantic endeavors with few spatio-temporal limits. E-love networks have proliferated since the mid-1990s and are expected to generate $1.9 billion by 2012. However, this successful global industry is a frequent venue of cyber crime, which poses serious problems for matchmaking services and daters worldwide. This paper offers an overview of romance scams and identity fraud at dating sites, developing a typology of cyber criminals and analyzing each type along the dimensions of criminal techniques, organizations, and ideologies. The theoretical framework for this paper borrows from criminal organization and network-based theories. Document analysis is conducted on data from dating sites, news and media sites, anti-scam commissions, law enforcement agencies, and government agencies, from 2000 to 2009. Twenty keyword combinations are used to gather 170 documents, which are then sorted around four intersecting themes: online dating, scams and frauds, the organization of cyber criminals, and prevention and regulation. This paper concludes that the three dimensions of technology, cyberspace, and inadequate countermeasures collectively influence criminal organization and operation in cyberspace."

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